On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2010, Boeing held a ceremony to open a new aircraft production facility near Boeing Field in Seattle where mission systems will be installed and tests will be carried out on the Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Located just south of the Museum of Flight on the west side of East Marginal, the big building isn’t really new. Once, it churned out B-29 Superfortress bombers. It was also the production site for early Boeing 737 airliners, although present-day 737s are assembled in nearby Renton.
P-8As for the U.S. Navy and P-8Is for India – derivatives of the 737 – will still be assembled in Renton but, following final assembly, will make a short flight to the Seattle facility to be fitted out with equipment and systems. “Six months ago this [building] was an abandoned warehouse,” Boeing program manager Chuck Dabundo told reporters at the ceremony. “We’ve gone full circle with bringing the 737 conversion back into this space.”
The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As to replace the P-3C Orion fleet, with initial operational capability (IOC) slated for 2013. The Indian Navy will receive eight P-8Is beginning in January 2013.
The P-8A is powered by two 27,300-lb. thrust F-108 (CFM 56-7) turbofan engines. Among systems aboard the aircraft is an upgraded AN/APY-10 maritime surveillance radar and signals intelligence solution.